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Old 08-25-2008, 05:41 PM   #1
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Retaining wall and fireplace?


I am planning to build an outdoor fireplace in my back yard and I also want to incorporate a retaining wall on one side and a decorative wall on the other. I am planning to build the fireplace out of wood and I am wondering if I can build the decorative wall the same way. The retaining wall on the opposite side will be holding some dirt back so it will be built with cinder blocks and concrete. I will be stuccoing everything after its built.

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Old 08-25-2008, 06:09 PM   #2
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Retaining wall and fireplace?


A fireplace and retaining wall built out of wood?

That reminds me of the group of Russians I hosted in Michigan. The saw the wonderful $800,000 model log home and were very polite to the people showing it. After we left, they asked mr why someone would build a house out of firewood. In most of the developed world, wood is looked on as a low level, temporary form of construction, especially if exposed to the weather, soil, moisture and anwhere within 10' of a fire.

Cultured stone over wood is not an acceptable substitute.

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Old 08-25-2008, 06:45 PM   #3
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Retaining wall and fireplace?


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A fireplace and retaining wall built out of wood?

That reminds me of the group of Russians I hosted in Michigan. The saw the wonderful $800,000 model log home and were very polite to the people showing it. After we left, they asked mr why someone would build a house out of firewood. In most of the developed world, wood is looked on as a low level, temporary form of construction, especially if exposed to the weather, soil, moisture and anwhere within 10' of a fire.

Cultured stone over wood is not an acceptable substitute.
Huh, I guess I should have been a little more clear. I actually have a fireplace insert and I am planning to build a wood frame around that and then cover it with tar paper and wire mesh so that I can apply stucco to the outside.

My main question is that I want to build a decorative wall next to it that will not be holding any dirt or anything else behind it. Can I build the wall portion in the same manner as the fireplace?

I watched a new Mexican food restaurant being built over the past month or so and they did an outdoor fireplace in this manner.
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:24 PM   #4
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Retaining wall and fireplace?


You can do anything, of course, but adhered veneer over wood is not a recommended practice for a free standing wall/fireplace, the issue being the wall cap and shoulders of the fireplace. The amount of water infiltration needed to destroy the structure is very small, and it is not really repairable.

Considering the cost of the adhered veneer alone, it seems to me it would pay to construct it right, that is, out of CMU.

p.s. Restaurant construction is never a good model, since they build to a very short life cycle.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:48 PM   #5
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You can do anything, of course, but adhered veneer over wood is not a recommended practice for a free standing wall/fireplace, the issue being the wall cap and shoulders of the fireplace. The amount of water infiltration needed to destroy the structure is very small, and it is not really repairable.

Considering the cost of the adhered veneer alone, it seems to me it would pay to construct it right, that is, out of CMU.

p.s. Restaurant construction is never a good model, since they build to a very short life cycle.
Thanks for the response.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:59 PM   #6
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Retaining wall and fireplace?


OK so now I'm really confused. I am planning to use Cinder Blocks for the wall that will actually be holding dirt back since this wall will need to be strong.

I see houses built all the time that are wood (plywood) outside and then they put a moisture barrier and some wire mesh to hold the stucco on. Are yall saying that this isn't good to do? I'm just wondering why I see this method used so much. I assume it is because of cost which is somewhat of a concern with my project also. The wall isn't a big deal since they won't be very big anyways I figure I can do them with cinder blocks. The fireplace on the other hand is going to be fairly big and it will have some odd angles that would be a lot harder to do with cinder blocks.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:32 PM   #7
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Retaining wall and fireplace?


If you put a roof over it, no problem. How are you planning to cap the wall and shoulder of the fireplace?
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:04 AM   #8
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Retaining wall and fireplace?


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If you put a roof over it, no problem. How are you planning to cap the wall and shoulder of the fireplace?
I wasn't planning on a roof. Is that the issue? That water will be falling directly on the top of it? I was planning to just angle the top surfaces down and when I put the tar paper or other moisture barrier on make sure that it overlapped the lower pieces all the way to the top.
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Old 08-27-2008, 12:31 PM   #9
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Is that it?
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:37 AM   #10
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Retaining wall and fireplace?


Any moisture penetration at all will swell the wood and crack the stucco, thus allowing more water, etc. It is just not a good idea.

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